Succession Law

The area of succession and legacy law can be very broad and complex. We dispose of abundant experience and are or have been active in all possible constellations. An exemplary and non-exhaustive list of expertise of Gast attorneys-at-law can be drawn up in following bullet points:

Determination of the right of Succession

  • Statutory and testamentary succession:


Construing testaments, assistance while drawing up testaments, composition of testaments, hand written testament, verification of validity or non-validity of testaments, prior or subsequent succession, joint testament of spouses, compulsory share penalty clauses, “Berlin Testament”, testamentary capacity, challenging testaments by court procedure, delimiting the position of heirs and rights of legatees


  • Contract of inheritance

  • Disposition of inheritance share / renunciation of inheritance:


Assisting contract negotiations, contractual solutions preventing access of creditors to the estate, preserving assets of the estate (companies, real estate), avoiding fragmentation of the estate, settlement payments


  • Procedure to obtain certificate of inheritance


  • Withdrawal of certificate of inheritance / declaration of nullity  


  • Establishing status as heir by court procedure (declaratory action of inheritance)


  • Renunciation of inheritance


Community of heirs / Distribution of estate

  • Administration of the estate:

necessary administrative measures, illicit funds in the estate, foreign bank accounts in the estate, foreign real estate properties, restoration and sale of estate assets, co-heir is resident on real estate property which is part of the estate, prohibition of disposition, decisions and resolutions, authorization and power of attorney of individual co-heirs, action for joint and several debt of heirs, action for claims against the estate, locating funds, trust pursuant to the laws of Liechtenstein and Switzerland.


  • Execution of the testament:

Assistance regarding settlement of the estate,  due payment and defense regarding liabilities of the estate, obtaining information from banks, public authorities and registers,

Action against executor: enforcing right to compulsory share, rights regarding legacies, respecting direction for partitioning of estate, due administration of the estate, claims for damages


  • Action for information pursuant to succession law (accounts / reporting):


against possessor of the inheritance

against prior beneficiary

against executor


  • Limiting liability to the estate  


  • Limiting disposition rights of the prior heir, compensation of damages


  • Securing the estate  


  • Expectancy rights of the subsequent heir


  • Attachment of inheritance / attachment of expectancy rights


  • Settlement of estate / realization of estate assets


  • Joint resolutions or respectively consent of the community of heirs:


Action for consent to administrative measures, action for reimbursement of expenses of co-heir, enforcement of inheritance claim by a co-heir (action for satisfaction against community of heirs) respectively non-existing debt of the estate (negative declaratory action), obstructing co-heir – what now?


  • Internal settlement amongst co-heirs / reimbursement of expenses


  • Contract to the benefit of a third party in case of decease:


Life insurance, revocation of gifts, deposits, interpleader actions, action against heir or respectively community of heirs

Compulsory share

  • Defense against compulsory share rights:


Taking into account of lifetime gifts form the deceased, renunciation of compulsory share,


Extent and valuation of the estate, valuation of gifts (point in time of evaluation), adjustment for inflation, illicit funds, exclusion of the compulsory share in foreign countries (succession law of the USA), foreign real estate property


  • Enforcement of compulsory share by court action:


Information / estate inventory

Action by stages for information and payment


  • Methods of reducing compulsory shares  


  • Supplementation of compulsory shares


  • Attachment of compulsory share claims  

Taxation of inheritance / Inheritance taxes

  • Privileged acquisition:

Ship shareholding, letting of real estate property for residential purposes, tax relief for company assets


  • Anticipated succession: 

Imputing of advanced gifts, principle of continued value diminution of gifts through time, mixed gifts, life estate, life interest


  • Declaratory and notification duties


  • Legal remedy:

Objection procedure/ suspension of enforceability/ court ordered interim measures/ action for annulment


Splitting the estate

  • Foreign funds in the estate:


Foreign bank accounts in the estate, illicit funds in the estate (Switzerland, Luxemburg), a posteriori taxation, double taxation agreements, voluntary disclosure, funds in the USA, localizing funds


  • Domestic funds in successions abroad:


Certificate of inheritance limited to objects, certificate of inheritance in foreign legal systems, testament before witnesses, living trust, certificate of inheritance negotiations, consulate, disposition of domestic funds, US Trust, Jersey Trust, trusts in Liechtenstein, Switzerland


  • Claims notification procedure  

Power of attorney for health care and patient decree

Corporate succession

  • Provisions in last will


  • Provisions in articles of association or bylaws (succession clauses)

continuation clause, successor clause (simple and qualified), entry clause, withdrawal and assignment clauses, preemptive rights







Leander J. Gast Attorneys at law

Berlin: Schumannstr. 18 | 10117 Berlin-Mitte | Phone: 030 240 47 66 | Fax: 030 240 476 71

Hamburg - since June 2013: Neuer Wall 10 | Ecke Jungfernstieg | 20354 Hamburg

Fon: 040 822 15 - 31 03 | Fax: 040 822 15 - 34 91